The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

Conceptual and Methodological Advances

Elgar original reference

Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay

This important Handbook presents an indispensable overview of the range of new methods and of the conceptual advances in Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Recent increased attention to social considerations has led to substantial development in the techniques useful to, and the thinking in, SIA. A distinguished group of contributors provides an up-to-date and comprehensive account of the cutting-edge in SIA development.

Chapter 18: Environmental Mediation

Helen Ross

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, environment, environmental sociology, research methods in the environment, valuation, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, research methods in social policy, sociology and sociological theory


Helen Ross Introduction The term ‘environmental mediation’ is used very broadly in the literature to encompass all forms of environmental dispute settlement other than litigation (Crowfoot and Wondolleck, 1990; Bingham, 1986; Sandford, 1990). It is similar to the use of the term ‘alternative dispute resolution’ (ADR). In environmental contexts, the term ‘mediation’ is often used synonymously with ‘negotiation’, but may be used to refer specifically to negotiations or other joint problem-solving forms which are facilitated by a third party whose main role is to help the participants to communicate and reach agreement (Bingham, 1986: 5). Negotiation is ‘a voluntary, collaborative process of problem-solving in which parties to a dispute try to reach a mutually acceptable, workable solution to their differences through direct, face-to-face dialogue’ (Sadler, 1987: 76). Some accept ‘shuttle diplomacy’, in which a mediator liaises between the parties before, or instead of, bringing them face to face, as a form of environmental mediation. ‘Environmental mediation’ generally refers to attempts to resolve specific disputes or episodes of conflict (Crowfoot and Wondolleck, 1990). However, a number of the published examples could also be described as joint decision making as understood in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) public participation literature. For instance, Bingham (1986) includes consensus building and policy dialogue among approaches to environmental dispute resolution. If one looks beyond specific disputes to the resolution of longerterm issues, collaborative planning (Gray, 1989; Healey, 1997; Ingram, 1998) and other cooperative stakeholder planning or decision-making processes can also be...

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